Turns out, maybe the Tampa Bay Lightning should have brought back Marty St. Louis … and given him a uniform.
Despite the charge the team got from retiring the jersey of St. Louis – the only retired number in franchise history, the Lightning could not maintain its energy and fell, 3-1, to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Bolts started well, getting off a season-high of 19 shots in the first period, and taking a 1-0 lead on Jonathan Drouin’s goal. But the Blue Jackets came back to take a 2-1 lead on a power play goal by Nick Foligno. Josh Anderson and Boone Jenner also scored for the Jackets.
“First of all, they’ve got a really good team,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper, whose team fell to 20-20-4. “They reeled off 16 in a row for a good reason. It’s too bad that we only had the 1-0 lead (after the first period). I thought we deserved a little bit better fate. I thought we played well. It was just tough for our guys to sustain it. They turned up their game a notch. We tried, it was just a little tougher for us to get the inside after a while and we weren’t getting our shots through. It was a little bit of bad breaks. We had a tough turnover there on the first one, but, ultimately, it’s a wide shot by 20 foot that goes off our back, lands in front and it’s 1-1. And then ultimately, it came down to special teams. They got the big goal on the power play, and we couldn’t kill it off. And then we couldn’t get the power-play goal when we needed it at the end.”
The Bolts have now lost five of their last six.
“We had a good first (period), you know, and then it was pretty ordinary after that,” said the Bolts’ Brian Boyle. “You know (Alex Killorn) stands in there and does a great job, fighting is something he doesn’t do a whole lot of. The power play after that wasn’t good enough. I think we kind of lost momentum there, and after that we just weren’t quite as good as we were in the first.”
“Results are really all that matters, and we’re working at it. They’re certainly not blowouts, but I mean we’re not setting the bar that low. We need to change our attitude a little bit and kind of find our mojo and carry ourselves with a little bit more confidence and know that we can score quick goals, we can come from behind and we can jump out to leads.”
After Ben Bishop’s return Thursday night, Andrei Vasilevskiy returned in front of the net. He stopped 28 shots, but it wasn’t enough. Columbus’ Joonas Korpisalo stopped 31 shots.
The Bolts now have a six-game road trip, starting with Monday afternoon’s game against the L.A. Kings.